CMC selects western region VP |

CMC selects western region VP

Richard Maestas is Colorado Mountain College's new regional vice president overseeing the campuses from Rifle to Aspen.
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Colorado Mountain College has selected veteran community college administrator Richard Maestas to fill the new position of western regional vice president.

The college received more than 200 applications for the position, which will oversee CMC operations in Aspen, Carbondale, Spring Valley, Glenwood Springs and Rifle.

“I am delighted that Richard Maestas has agreed to join the Colorado Mountain College family,” said CMC President Carrie Besnette Hauser. “Richard is not only a highly accomplished higher education executive, but he absolutely believes in CMC’s mission, values and future.”


Maestas received his master’s of business administration from Colorado State University in Pueblo, and has held positions at more than half a dozen higher education institutions, from Colorado College in Colorado Springs and the Colorado Community College System in Denver to, most recently, Community College of Aurora. Additionally, Maestas was appointed by Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia to serve on the state’s Concurrent Enrollment Advisory Committee.

“He’s one of the most highly regarded individuals in the Colorado community college system,” said Matt Gianneschi, CMC chief operating officer and chief of staff. “And because of people like him, the Community College of Aurora is one of the most stable community colleges in the state.”

Community College of Aurora President Betsy Oudenhoven described Maestas as “a caring, intelligent and hard-working educator who understands the work of community colleges and values both the aspirations and the achievements of our students.”

“I am sorry to lose him, but I know he is very excited about this opportunity and has much to contribute to Colorado Mountain College,” she added. “[CMC is] gaining an experienced senior administrator, a collaborative colleague and a wonderful person.”


The need for a leader such as Maestas became evident in the college’s western region eight or nine months ago, Gianneschi said.

“Campus deans in the region busy with activities at their individual locations needed a supportive leader who could think broadly in coordinating, facilitating, balancing and managing, fiscally and academically, the divergent needs within and among the five locations,” he said. “Following the retirements of longtime Vice Presidents Joe Maestas and Nancy Genova, we had a rare opportunity to rethink how to most effectively support this region and ultimately design this new position.”

Co-chaired by faculty senate president-elect Robert “Bob” Von Achen and Lin Stickler, CMC vice president for student affairs, the selection process was an all-hands-on-deck effort working with a multicampus committee, staff from Central Services and former Aspen Mayor and community leader John Bennett of the Cradle to Career Initiative at the Aspen Community Foundation. The group reviewed applications, made recommendations and coordinated interviews at each affected location.

“Even though all of the finalists were very well-qualified and made the choice a difficult one, Richard’s wisdom and experience impressed all committee members,” Von Achen said.

Hauser said that Richard Maestas is uniquely qualified for his new role.

“As a native Coloradan as well as a nontraditional and first-generation college student himself, Richard connects to our college and its students on many levels,” she said. “Moreover, his leadership experiences at other institutions and time in the classroom as an instructor, as well as his service in the U.S. Navy, have prepared Richard for success in CMC’s western region.”

For Maestas, the challenge of a new position and integrating the success of five CMC locations is something to look forward to.

“I’m especially excited to work for an institution that is already doing really good work, that isn’t satisfied and that wants to do even more,” he said.

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